Friday, January 1, 2016

2016-1 1st Report of the New Year... A day Trip

every day trip includes a meal

A Roving Report
Starting off the New Year right.

day trip from Tucson to Tombstone AZ

Welcome back for another year of traveling with me along the highways and by-ways of this large country.  This report starts on New Years Eve day, getting a head start on 2016.  My good friends Kathy and Randy have there grandson, Lane, in town for a few days and I was invited on one of their day trips touring Lane around parts of Arizona.

The day started out early for me, as I needed to run into town and go to one of those Urgent Care Clinics for some medication to take care of a infected eye, all red and hurting like all heck.  Thank goodness for good health coverage.  I was back at Desert Trails with minutes to spare before we were to head on our on your day trip.

Tombstone Arizona

Lane, Randy and the Sheriff

We piled into Randy’s newest truck, it’s a beauty, and headed down to Tombstone.  Yes the real Tombstone where Morgan and Wyatt Earp had their shootouts and gunfights. Along with Doc Holiday and the gang.... But before we got there, we stopped by the Holy Trinity Monastery south of Benson.  A small chapel sits on the property along with a gift shop, pecan farm, ponds and a small lake.  Kathy had to ask about the numerous ponds we had seen in the area.  Come to find out the area was once a river.  After the river dried up, the settlers in the area discovered if they just dug a hole in the ground, it would fill up with water via artesian wells.  Quite a surprise in what is considered desert country.

Driving south we finally arrive at Tombstone.  It’s pretty much a tourist trap built around the original town labeled, “the town to tough to die”.  There are a few worthwhile as well as hokey “museums” for touring.  Each requiring a few dollars entry fee.  Including the original location of the OK Corral.  Even the daily shoot out performances now charge to see the action.  Barkers, that’s a person who hollers out the coming attractions, stand at each street corner in their western or mining outfits enticing the tourist to come see a great show.  And numerous stage coach rides are available for a ride around Tombstone, providing a nice way to learn about this historic western town.  

the courthouse, now a St Museum

great way to have a tour and learn about Tombstone

Our group concentrated on shopping for the perfect cowboy hat, boots, buckles and belts and lunch at one of the busy restaurants in town.  One of the numerous shops in town sold everything for the perfect mustache. That's it.  Nothing else. Really!  From hand made fake mustaches, mainly for the kids, to the custom waxes to keep that perfect stash looking good.  How on earth can one make a living selling cheap fake mustaches and accessories?

One of the 'characters" in Tombstone

ready for a shoot out

shopping anyone?

western ware in each shop

lots of "museum" tours

After a good lunch and much walking around town, we headed out on our circle tour back to Tucson. But before getting back we had to stop at one more place that Kathy and Randy knew about.  Heading west on hwy 82 we went through the tiny town of Sonoita with a quick stop for a coffee pick-me-up.  I had a caramel latté.  And then it was onto hwy 83 heading north and the Empire Ranch.  It’s a part of the much larger Las Cienegas National Conservation Area (LCNCA) which is maintained by the Bureau of Land Management, BLM.  It’s being restored back to the natural grass lands that once covered the entire area.

the main ranch house, expanded over many years

The Empire Ranch is a working ranch though the main buildings are no longer occupied and are open to the public for self tours and learning about the history of the ranch.  I was particularly interested in the free dry camping area as I am planning on making it my first stop on my spring/summer adventures in 2016.

once covered in canvas to keep the sod from falling down.
Lane and Kathy looking up....

What a great day trip, exploring parts of the old west, wild gun fights and history, learning about the changing landscape and efforts to restore parts of it when possible. Now that’s how I was able to start off the New Year just right.  Thanks Kathy and Randy for  a great day of exploring and discovery.

scenery out the window of the truck on our return trip

more photos on PICASA

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